Does taking aspirin reduce the risk of breast cancer spreading?

New research suggests taking aspirin may prevent breast cancer from spreading to the lymph-nodes near the breast.

Picture of aspirin
Published today in the Journal of Cancer Research, researchers in Ireland and the USA have found that women who took aspirin regularly before being diagnosed with breast cancer were less likely to have cancer that had spread to the lymph-nodes than women who did not take aspirin. These women were also less likely to die from their breast cancer.
 
Previous research shows that women diagnosed with breast cancer that has spread outside the breast to other parts of the body (such as the lymph nodes near the breast and under the arms) are more likely to die from their cancer. Laboratory research suggests that aspirin may prevent breast cancer cells from spreading to the lymph-nodes. 
 
The researchers from Trinity College Dublin, the National Cancer Registry Ireland and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Publich Health used anonymous data from Ireland’s National Cancer Registry and National Prescribing Database to do this research, which was funded by the Health Research Board Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society. 
 
These results suggest that taking aspirin may prevent breast cancer from spreading to the lymph-nodes near the breast. This could explain how aspirin works to reduce a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer. The next steps in the research will be to: 1) identify exactly how aspirin prevents breast cancer from spreading to the lymph-nodes; and 2) which women with breast cancer are most likely to benefit from taking aspirin.
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